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Work In Progress: Is Our Capstone Mentorship Model Working?

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Capstone Pedgagogy

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


C. Richard Compeau Jr. Texas State University

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C. Richard Compeau Jr. is a Professor of Practice in the Ingram School of Engineering, and the Electrical Engineering Program Coordinator. He is interested in teaching and curriculum development. His work is typically project-specific for the EE Capstone courses, with an emphasis on applied electromagnetics.

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Austin Talley P.E. Texas State University

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Dr. Austin Talley is a Senior Lecturer in the Ingram School of Engineering at Texas State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas State University, Dr. Austin Talley worked as a manufacturing quality engineer for a test and measurement company, National Instruments, in Austin, TX. Dr. Austin Talley is a licensed by state of Texas as a Professional Engineer. Both of Dr. Austin Talley’s graduate degrees, a doctorate and masters in Mechanical Engineering, manufacturing and design area, are from the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, Dr. Austin Talley holds an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in Mechanical Engineering. His research is in engineering design theory and engineering education. He has published over 30 papers in engineering education journals and conference proceedings. He has worked to implement multiple National Science Foundation (NSF) grants focused on engineering education. He has been an instructor in more than ten week long summer K-12 teach Professional Development Institutes (PDI). He has received multiple teaching awards. He has developed design based curriculum for multiple K-12 teach PDIs and student summer camps.

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Capstone design as a culminating experience has existed for many years and is required by ABET. In many programs, students perform work that is experiential and team-based in nature, as opposed to problem sets and lab reports associated with other classes. One goal of capstone is to prepare engineering students for the workplace. An element that was lacking in our program was the mentorship experience that many new graduates will encounter when employed. As a result, two years ago the Electrical Engineering program at Texas State University implemented a mentorship model in which second semester capstone students mentored first semester capstone students. In this model, second semester teams were assigned to mentor specific first semester teams, and second semester student Project Managers were assigned to mentor specific first semester Project Managers. It was felt that first semester students might gain valuable insight and direction since they were speaking with their peers who have a student perspective and who are speaking the same language. Anecdotal evidence suggested that the mentorship model was working and as a result the other two engineering disciplines, Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering, also adopted the mentorship model. Measurements of mentorship effectiveness were not taken in the Electrical Engineering program but we now wish to measure the effectiveness via pre- and post-mentoring surveys to be administered to Electrical Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering capstone courses at semester’s end. We intend to create these surveys to be a combination of questions scored with a Likert scale and limited free response fields to answer questions such as, “How available was your mentor? Did the mentorship have value to you? How effective was the mentoring you received overall, and in specific areas such as documentation, project planning, and team relationships?” Additionally, each semester we had previously sought student nominations to give an Outstanding Mentorship Award at our twice-annual Senior Design Day. We plan to incorporate such questions into the survey and collect specific examples of mentorship to supplement our general questions in this ongoing research.

Compeau, C. R., & Talley, A. (2020, June), Work In Progress: Is Our Capstone Mentorship Model Working? Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35665

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